NCARB To Examine Current Practices In Architecture

What does it mean to be an architect today? The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) has begun an in-depth study of the profession that will reveal trends and state-of-the-art practices in architecture. This “Practice Analysis” study involves four major research components: focus groups, work observations, critical incident interviews, and a 4,000-architect survey. The results from these research phases will be analyzed to determine the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform the functions of an architect. NCARB expects the information gathered from this study to have a major impact on the areas tested by the Architect Registration Examination. Furthermore, the results can help architectural schools shape their curriculums to better position their students to enter the workforce.

Individuals from within the field of architecture and related professions participated in focus groups held over a four-day period in Fall 1999 in Chicago. More than 110 architectural professionals, educators, interns, consulting engineers, landscape architects, interior designers, building officials, clients, contractors, liability carriers, lenders, and attorneys from throughout the United States participated in the process.

Work observations are now being conducted in six firms recognized as leaders in their particular aspect of the profession. Researchers are studying firms in the areas of office practice, “green architecture,” the application of technology, the breadth of technology, international practice and scope of practice. Critical incident interviews with the principals of 12 to 15 firms will be completed over this winter, and a survey form is expected to be mailed to 4,000 architects nationally in early summer.

NCARB is charged by its bylaws to conduct a practice analysis at least every seven years. The last fully independent study was undertaken in the early 1980s. That document was reviewed and updated twice, once in 1989 and once again in 1993. Results of the current study are expected to be in draft stage by October 2000 and published in early 2001.

For more information on the Practice Analysis, contact Mark McKechnie, Director, Professional Development for NCARB at 202/783-6500.